Numbers
1-12 The Offerings by Fire 13-16 The Alien and the Offering by Fire 17-21 The Offering by Lifting Up 22-31 Sinning Unintentionally and Defiantly 32-36 The Sabbath Violator 37-41 The Memorial Tassels
The Offerings by Fire

1Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, which I am giving you, 3then make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering or a sacrifice to fulfill a special vow, or as a freewill offering or in your appointed times, to make a soothing aroma to the LORD, from the herd or from the flock. 4The one who presents his offering shall present to the LORD a grain offering of one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil, 5and you shall prepare wine for the drink offering, one-fourth of a hin, with the burnt offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb. 6Or for a ram you shall prepare as a grain offering two-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil; 7and for the drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the LORD. 8When you prepare a bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a special vow, or for peace offerings to the LORD, 9then you shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-half a hin of oil; 10and you shall offer as the drink offering one-half a hin of wine as an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD. 11‘Thus it shall be done for each ox, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the goats. 12According to the number that you prepare, so you shall do for everyone according to their number.

Numbers 15 contrasts sharply with the two previous chapters and the next. In it we see events that are full of unbelief and revolt on the part of God’s people. But in this chapter, it seems as if God forgets all that for a moment. He starts with: “When you enter the land”, words that are completely independent of the current situation in which the people find themselves.

The LORD speaks of the entry of the people into the land as if nothing has happened. He doesn’t therefore speak to the unbelieving people, whose bodies will fall into the wilderness, but to a faithful remnant, like Caleb and Joshua. They present, together with the children under the age of twenty, “a remnant according to [God’s] gracious choice” (Rom 11:55In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to [God’s] gracious choice.). While God will judge the whole people and only a remnant will reach the land, the encouraging words of this chapter are meant for this remnant.

This shows that man’s sin can never overturn God’s counsels. God will always fulfill His plans to a remnant. God is not embarrassed by man’s sin. The large mass is killed in the wilderness, the remnant gets the blessing. He brings this remnant into the peace of His counsel, which was in His heart from eternity, undisturbed by everything that happens in Christianity.

Not least flustered by the unbelief and revolt of His people, God reveals what He intends to do. To know this acting of God is also for us a consolation in the midst of so much apostacy. The reference to entering the land at this time – now that the people have just refused to take possession of it – is a clear encouragement for faith and an assurance of the infallible grace of God.

God therefore has a firm foundation for this action. He has this in the work of the Lord Jesus. He wants to occupy His people, and the faithful in particular, with Him. The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, described in picture in verses 1-161Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, which I am giving you,3then make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering or a sacrifice to fulfill a special vow, or as a freewill offering or in your appointed times, to make a soothing aroma to the LORD, from the herd or from the flock.4The one who presents his offering shall present to the LORD a grain offering of one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil,5and you shall prepare wine for the drink offering, one-fourth of a hin, with the burnt offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.6Or for a ram you shall prepare as a grain offering two-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil;7and for the drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the LORD.8When you prepare a bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a special vow, or for peace offerings to the LORD,9then you shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-half a hin of oil;10and you shall offer as the drink offering one-half a hin of wine as an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD.11‘Thus it shall be done for each ox, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the goats.12According to the number that you prepare, so you shall do for everyone according to their number.13All who are native shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD.14If an alien sojourns with you, or one who may be among you throughout your generations, and he [wishes to] make an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, just as you do so he shall do.15[As for] the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns [with you], a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD.16There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.’”, is therefore central. The offerings described here are all offerings to a pleasant fragrance. God wants to occupy our hearts with the most glorious things His people will do in the land: Offering Him offerings. He wants us to penetrate His thoughts for this and for this He shows us these offerings and teaches us lessons.

Much has been said about the offerings themselves in Leviticus. The emphasis here in Numbers is on the accompanying offerings. The three different types of burnt offerings and peace offerings must always be accompanied by a grain offering, a drink offering and a quantity of oil. Depending on the size of the burnt offering and peace offering, the quantity for the grain offering, drink offering and oil is also determined.

The first offering that someone can bring is a lamb (verse 55and you shall prepare wine for the drink offering, one-fourth of a hin, with the burnt offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.), then someone can also bring a ram (verse 66Or for a ram you shall prepare as a grain offering two-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil;) and finally someone can bring a bull as the greatest offering (verse 99then you shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-half a hin of oil;). The offerings here go from small to large. In Leviticus it is the other way around. There God begins with the greatest. But in Numbers it is about our practice, how we increasingly penetrate the value of the offering and grow in the knowledge of it:

1. The lamb must be accompanied by a grain offering of one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour, one-fourth of a hin of oil and one-fourth of a hin of wine.
2. The ram must be accompanied by a grain offering of two tenths [of an efa] of fine flour, one-third of a hin of oil and one-third of a hin of wine.
3. The bull must be accompanied by a grain offering of three-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour, one-half a hin of oil and one-half a hin of wine.

God wants His people never to forget that to bloody sacrifices these non-blooded sacrifices belong. For us this means that we must never separate the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross from His life as Man on earth, of which the grain offering speaks. God wants us to learn this in Numbers. We must always remember that the work of His Son on the cross is the conclusion of a perfect life on earth. It makes all the difference to God that it is the perfect Man Who has directed His footsteps to the cross. He is that fine flour. As in fine flour everything is perfectly even, without any unevenness, so He has been in His life on earth.

The oil must be mixed with the flour. It speaks of how the Holy Spirit is completely mixed with the life of the Lord Jesus. He has done everything through the power of the Holy Spirit. He has only spoken and acted through Him. We have to learn that in our walk through the wilderness. The more we see of the Lord Jesus in His sacrifice, the greater our understanding of His work on the cross, the more the Holy Spirit will also be able to work in our lives.

The same can be said of the wine. Wine is a picture of joy. The drink offering makes us think of the joy with which the Lord Jesus surrendered Himself. God wants us to remember that too.

Paul has felt something of this. He says to the Philippians that he wants to be “a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service” of their faith (Phil 2:1717But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.). Through his death he wants to give God an extra reason to rejoice at the joy He already enjoys through the sacrifice of the Philippians. It is also a joy for Paul to remember that he gave his whole life to offer others, including the Philippians, as a sacrifice to God (cf. Rom 15:1616to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that [my] offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.).

The apostle sees all their faith and service as a sacrifice to God. They present their bodies “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God” (Rom 12:11Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship.). That is the main sacrifice for him. Their faith is active in sacrificing themselves and serving God and others. Paul thinks this is bigger than his life. His martyr’s death will be poured over it like a much smaller drink offering (2Tim 4:66For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.).

The greater the sacrifice we bring, that is to say, the greater our understanding is of the work that the Lord Jesus did on the cross, the greater will be our drink offering. Then we will not walk around with sad faces, but with His joy and His mind in our hearts.

Are we alone impressed by the wickedness of the people? Or do we see the glory of the Lord Jesus? That is what God wants to teach us with Numbers 15. He wants us to rise to the level of His thoughts. Then we will not go down in the pain of decay, but will merge into the joy of the work of the Lord Jesus, of which the drink offering speaks.


The Alien and the Offering by Fire

13All who are native shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD. 14If an alien sojourns with you, or one who may be among you throughout your generations, and he [wishes to] make an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, just as you do so he shall do. 15[As for] the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns [with you], a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD. 16There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.’”

When everything is so implicated on the Lord Jesus, the difference between Jew and Gentile disappears for God. That is why we read in these verses that the same applies to an alien as to the born Israelite. The alien also has the privilege of bringing such fire offerings. This means not only that he must do the same as the Israelite, but that he has the same position as the Israelite before the LORD.

The place given to the Gentile here next to the Israelite (verse 15b15[As for] the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns [with you], a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD.) is unique in the Old Testament. The distinction is always maintained. And if there is blessing for the Gentiles, it is through Israel, so not on an equal footing. So how is it possible that this is written here? Because, as has been said, God here thinks of the offering of the Lord Jesus. Where He comes to the fore, there can be no difference in God’s actions with man. Jews and Gentiles have both sinned “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23b23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,). Therefore they both depend on the same grace (Rom 10:11-1211For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same [Lord] is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;; 11:3232For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.). On the basis of the work of the Lord Jesus, God can deal with Jew and Gentile on the same basis.


The Offering by Lifting Up

17Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where I bring you, 19then it shall be, that when you eat of the food of the land, you shall lift up an offering to the LORD. 20Of the first of your dough you shall lift up a cake as an offering; as the offering of the threshing floor, so you shall lift it up. 21From the first of your dough you shall give to the LORD an offering throughout your generations.

Again God speaks of the fact that they will come into the land. This is again a consolation for the ‘Calebs’ in the people. A new statute follows. If they enter the land, they may eat from what the land yields. But God also wants to have His share of it. They can give this to Him in the form of lifting up an offering. The offering is an offering that is moved up and down before the LORD. Here it is a cake, prepared from the fruit of the land.

In order to make the barley into flour and the flour into a cake, the Israelite must actively engage in it. This also applies spiritually. There must be a work in our heart, we must be busy with it in our heart if we are to be able to offer something from the Lord Jesus to God. God wants to receive His part first in every processing of it. God wants us to remember that it is He Who gives us the food we can enjoy. In the lifting up of the offering we let Him enjoy it as it were, and He as the first One.

The offering by lifting up of the land speaks of the Lord Jesus as He is now in heaven. God wants us to enter into what the Lord Jesus is now. From everything that we enjoy of the Lord Jesus in our spiritual growth in knowing Him as He is in heaven, God wants to receive an offering from us. We lift it up, to Him, to let Him enjoy what we have enjoyed from the Lord Jesus. In Ezekiel 44 a special blessing is attached to the giving of first fruits (Eze 44:3030The first of all the first fruits of every kind and every contribution of every kind, from all your contributions, shall be for the priests; you shall also give to the priest the first of your dough to cause a blessing to rest on your house.).

This is not about special occasions, like the feasts of the LORD, but about the ordinary life of every day. God wishes to receive the first fruits of what we enjoy as spiritual food in our daily dealings with Him. He wants us to be the First to share with Him what we have enjoyed. Only then can we pass on what we have seen of the Lord Jesus to others. This can happen, for example, in a conversation, a Bible reading or lecture.


Sinning Unintentionally and Defiantly

22‘But when you unwittingly fail and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses, 23[even] all that the LORD has commanded you through Moses, from the day when the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations, 24then it shall be, if it is done unintentionally, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one bull for a burnt offering, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error. 26So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for [it happened] to all the people through error. 27‘Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering. 28The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven. 29You shall have one law for him who does [anything] unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. 30But the person who does [anything] defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt [will be] on him.’”

There is another aspect in connection with the land the LORD confronts His people here with. This concerns the offences which the people will also be able to do into the land. The LORD not only proposes blessing, he also proposes failure. We see this in the letters that speak about the heavenly blessings. There is also spoken about failure in them. This happens if we do not walk with dignity, that is, not in accordance with our position.

It is about inattention, a sin without noticing it. God does not assume that we intentionally sin. A sinner often knows this, but he does not have the strength to resist sin. Yet while he is sinning, he will at the same time hate the sin that has regained power over him. How the believer stands against this unintentional sin hidden from him is beautifully illustrated by David: “Who can discern [his] errors? Acquit me of hidden [faults]“ (Psa 19:1313Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous [sins];
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
).

In Leviticus there is also talk of unintentional sinning by the whole church of Israel and the offering to be brought for it (Lev 4:13-2113‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;14when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting.15Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be slain before the LORD.16Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting;17and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle [it] seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil.18He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.19He shall remove all its fat from it and offer it up in smoke on the altar.20He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.21Then he is to bring out the bull to [a place] outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.). There it is about doing something that according to the commandments of the LORD should not be done, while here it is about not doing something that according to the commandments of the LORD should be done. The starting point remains that it happens unintentionally.

Peter’s denial of the Lord is an example of unintentional sin. Peter has come through his self-confidence to a place where he no longer has himself in control. Through fear of man he comes to statements concerning his relationship with the Lord Jesus in which he denies the Lord. But he has not become an adversary of the Lord. A little later he comes to deep repentance (Lk 22:56-6256And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.”57But he denied [it], saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”58A little later, another saw him and said, “You are [one] of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”59After about an hour had passed, another man [began] to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.”60But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”62And he went out and wept bitterly.; cf. 1Tim 1:1313even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;).

Deliberately sinning, that is sinning “defiantly” (verses 30-3130But the person who does [anything] defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.31Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt [will be] on him.’”), means rebellion against God, consciously going against God, knowingly. There is no forgiveness for this: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:2626For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,). A person who takes such a similar attitude to God is not too weak to resist sin, but consciously gives in to sin. He realizes what he is doing, knows the consequences, but there is nothing that can stop him.

In Leviticus 4, where unintentional sin is discussed in detail, only a sin offering is mentioned. But here, in Numbers 15, also is talk of a burnt offering, which also is greater than the sin offering. That is because this is about a sin in the land. Being there gives a greater responsibility. If we sin there, we have also endangered the blessings. That is why this is a burnt offering, to remind us once again, as it were, that our blessings are the consequences of the work of the Lord Jesus for God.

Two cases of sinning are proposed in this section: by the church (verses 22-2622‘But when you unwittingly fail and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses,23[even] all that the LORD has commanded you through Moses, from the day when the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations,24then it shall be, if it is done unintentionally, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one bull for a burnt offering, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.25Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.26So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for [it happened] to all the people through error.) and by the individual (verses 27-2927‘Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering.28The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven.29You shall have one law for him who does [anything] unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.). We can connect this with the blessings, for there are also blessings in these two forms: there are collective blessings for the church as a whole (Eph 3) and there are personal blessings for each individual believer (Eph 1:3-83Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love.5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight). When sin enters, the enjoyment of the blessing disappears, both for the whole and for the individual.


The Sabbath Violator

32Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. 33Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; 34and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. 35Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

In these verses we receive an example of a willful sin (verse 3030But the person who does [anything] defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.) by someone who despises the word of the LORD (verse 3131Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt [will be] on him.’”). To violate the Sabbath means to violate the peace of God. The sabbath is given by God to man as a blessing. By the sin of man it has become a commandment. Yet God’s intention with the sabbath remains that on that day man may share in His rest, that he then does not have to work.

The sabbath belongs to the first creation. Later God included the sabbath in His law which He gives to His people. Believers of the church are “a new creation” (Gal 6:1515For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.) and “not under law, but under grace” (Rom 6:1414For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.). In a literal sense, the sabbath does not apply to them. What they can enjoy is the sabbath rest in a spiritual sense. They may enjoy the sabbatical rest of God that He found in the finished work of His Son. God rests in His Son. That peace is trampled underfoot when we still produce works of the flesh.

Sunday is not the sabbath. By making Sunday a disguised sabbath, that day became a day of commandments and prohibitions in Christianity. It is precisely the people who keep the first day of the week as sabbath who are sabbath violators, for they believe that through works of the law, such as keeping the ‘sabbath’, they are pleasing to God. Then you are not on the basis of grace. Resting in the rest of God means standing in grace. Keeping Sunday as a sabbath is for many not a joy, but a burden, because nothing is allowed. Then the disguised sabbath becomes a yoke.

The sabbath violator collects dead branches. That is a picture of the performance of the works, i.e. works in which there is no life from God. Dead works are works that come forth from our religious flesh (Heb 9:1414how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?). Evil works come forth from our corrupted flesh (Col 1:2121And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, [engaged] in evil deeds,). Dead works do not have to be evil, but if they come from an unregenerate heart or are done in the context of a carnal religion, they are dead. In contrast to the dead works is the serving of the living God.

Dead works are works that are the product of a creature that in God’s eye is “dead” in “trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:11And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,). They do not originate from the source of all true life, that is God Himself. Such works are firewood, only good for the fire. We recognize this in all who place themselves on the basis of works of the law. They place themselves under the curse, “for as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”” (Gal 3:1010For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”).

The man is not allowed to make fire on the sabbath (Exo 35:33You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”). Fire gives light and warmth. God wants us to remember that this can only be found in Jesus Christ and not in something a person performs. The face of Moses, shining of the glory of God (Exo 34:3535the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.), is reminiscent of the light to be seen in Christ (2Cor 4:4-64in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.6For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.). This is the only light that may be seen, and not the fire that is made by humans. The face of Jesus Christ shines, not what we accomplish.

The sabbath speaks of God’s peace. In this He wants to let man share. This man is not bothered by this. He gathers wood, he works, to warm himself by its fire. It is a picture of walking in the light of your own fire, your own experience, your own opinions, your own results. It points to collecting religious operations, but it is dead wood, it is dead works. He who willingly and knowingly surrenders to it dies without mercy.

The man is put in custody. Then God is consulted. That is important. The church may only exercise a punishment that is consistent with the offence. God determines the punishment. There are cases of discipline where the church does not know what to do. Then it may be necessary for someone to be “put in custody,” which we can apply by saying to someone that they will not participate in the Lord’s Supper for the time being, until the Lord makes clear what must happen. It is better in such cases to wait and take the place of an ignorant, while in that time of ignorance we trust that the Lord hears and takes care of us.

In this case, God’s judgment is: stone him with stones. The stones are thrown by all the congregation. The application for the church of God in this time is to remove the evil from the midst of the church (1Cor 5:13b13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.). That is also a matter of all.


The Memorial Tassels

37The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, 38“Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. 41I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.”

It is possible that God commands the making and wearing of the tassels in response to the history with the sabbath violator. What is written here is a summary of the above. The people have been being occupied with the land. The thought of the land must now characterize every step they take in the wilderness. By seeing the tassel with the cord of blue they will remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them.

In the tassels with the cord of blue we are reminded of heaven. We see in it the picture that heavenly principles have to determine the smallest details in our lives, even those closest to the earth. Then we shall avoid the evil by which we bring God’s judgment upon us.

Memorial tassels or fringes are at the corners of the clothes, at the bottom (Deu 22:1212“You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.). The dimensions are not given. The Pharisees make them big. They want to show everyone how they keep God’s commandment. The Lord Jesus reproaches them, because they only show off outwardly their piety, but inwardly are far away from it (Mt 23:55But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels [of their garments].).

The cord of blue is also seen at the plate of the high priest (Exo 28:35-3735It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die.36“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’37You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban.). That plate is attached to his forehead with a blue purple thread. The plate says “Holy to the LORD”. With this he brings the people in remembrance to God. The head is in the direction of God. The hems with the cord of blue thread are near the earth. They remind us of the walk in the wilderness. One cannot be separated from the other.

The cord of blue reminds us of the task to seek “the things above” (Col 3:11Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.). When they look at the tassels, they are reminded of the commandments. Then they will be saved from following their hearts, their feelings and affections, and their eyes, what they see. There is nothing that allows us to walk on earth better than the consciousness that we are of heaven.

The reason for all this is that the LORD has led them out of Egypt and that He is their God. He is “the LORD your God”. Everything is connected with Him, He is the center of everything. For us, who are rescued from the world (Gal 1:44who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,), all blessings are connected with and summarized in Him Who is in heaven.


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